Thursday, 17 July 2014

Icon jewellery exhibition

 Last Saturday, we headed to the National Centre for Craft and Design again, to look at a jewellery exhibition called Icons.  It was an interesting idea - jewellers were asked to create a piece for a person or thing that they considered an icon. I was allowed to take photos, which is always a bonus.
 This amethyst ring and the moonstone necklace in the next two photos were designed for Tilda Swinton and capture her cool, detached, ethereal quality very well, I feel.

 I loved the sweeping curves of the moonstone torque neckalce.
 This necklace and ring set was created for a polar bear.  The jeweller used resin to create the icy arctic blue.
 Chris and I both liked this one, inspired by The Shard.
 Again, there was a great sense of movement in the design.
 The complex and impressive piece was designed for David Bowie's 'Diamond Dogs' song/album.
 The two iron spheres encrusted in flowers and skulls made from lots of semi-precious gems was made for Alexander McQueen.
 This was another of my favourites as I found the design fascinating.  It looked like a box, but when you looked at the photos, you could see there was a square brooch in the centre, then a square bangle and a square necklace, made up from smaller squares.  Only when the three were displayed together would you see the shape of the angel wings, showing the inspiration.
 A beautiful thing in its own right.
 The blues of this piece appealed to me and on closer inspection, the shape of the towers from the Battersea Power Station appeared.
 This piece was Chris' favourite - Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, was the icon here.
 There was a huge amount of attention to detail shown here, from the complex beading to the printed writing on the back of the oval pendant.
 This quite classic looking Viking/Celtic-type bangle was inspired by a female character from Game of Thrones.
Finally, this simple looking piece of circuit board was designed for Alan Turing, the computer scientist and the jeweller had written that the inclusion of pink referred to the fight against prejudice as Alan Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality and died from cyanide poisoning. According to Wikipedia, he received a posthumous pardon from the Queen in December 2013.
I really enjoyed seeing these pieces - there were many others too, including two for Vivienne Westwood, but the ones I have featured are the ones that appealed to me most.
Here's a little something to think about - which icon would you have chosen?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

A rather special garden visitor

 No, not visiting someone else's garden, but a visitor to ours.  Last week, I saw a hedgehog hiding among the pots by the back door.  My first though was one of panic, in case Scruffy was anywhere near it, but he wasn't.  It was around 8.00 pm, so apologies for the light levels and general blurriness of the photos which were taken looking through our sitting room window.
 I put some cat food out for the hedgehog and once he/she had smelt it, it didn't take long for it to be gobbled up.
 I think he/she was even standing on the plate to get at it!
He/she did finish every last bit and then off he/she went on his/her way.  I was thrilled to see a hedgehog as we live in a city, particularly as on the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show coverage on the BBC, there was a report on how these creatures are as endangered in the UK as tigers are in the wild.  Rather a sobering thought.

Monday, 7 July 2014

More polymer experiments (including Hellboy and Darth Maul!)

 I had another polymer clay play day with a friend on Saturday and we had a great time. She was experimenting with wood grain patterns and then went on to making her own sunflower cane which became a pendant and beads.  The red wood grain pendant reminded me of 'Hellboy' or  'Darth Maul' - it's probably just the red and black!
 Hellboy (from Wikipedia)
Darth Maul (from Wikipedia)
 So, what was I making while she was busy?  Well, I saw a designer making a beach-inspired set of jewellery and really loved the blending of all the blues, so that's what I had a go at.  This is going to be a little hanging for the bathroom.  The addition of the frost white clay gives the sparkle which can be seen - it almost looks like the sun sparkling on the water, doesn't it?  The pendant was made from a spiral cane using the same blend of colours.
I'm going to try this again, as it probably needs a bit more sand (well, Chris suggested that might be a good idea and I agree).  I just love those colours though!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Goodbye Gonga

 We had to say goodbye to our lovely cat, Gonga this week.  He had been diagnosed with a tumour and we had to let him go. He went very peacefully.  He came to us in 2008, as a stray and quickly made himself a part of the family.
 His favourite thing to do was sleep...
 ...but he occasionally roused himself to investigate the garden.
 Ginny tolerated him (just).
He was always alert for the sound of food being prepared.  His second favourite thing was eating.
 He got on slightly better with Scruffy.
 He had his own red blanket for when it got cold.
 He would make us laugh with his 'Little Red Riding Gonga' impressions...
 ...and he did a pretty good 'Grumpy Cat' one too.
 Sometimes, he even thought he was like Bagpuss (old, fat furry catpuss).
And, we loved him.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Visit in the rain

We ventured out again yesterday to another open garden, this time one with crafts and ice cream too.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn't quite so kind, but being hardy sorts, would that put us off?  No!  Although the formal gardens were beautiful, with stunning views wherever we looked, it was the wildflower meadow which we were both drawn to.  It was a haze of white daisies with splashes of blue cornflowers and echiums.
 Grasses were intermingled among the flowers to create a relaxing and beautiful space.  Here and there, I spied bold flashes of colour from poppies and one in particular caught my eye.
 I followed the mown grass paths round and there it was, shining out despite the soaking it had received.
 I couldn't resist that colour!
I loved the way the raindrops were clinging to the petals.  Having wandered in the gardens, we looked at the craft stalls and then enjoyed an ice cream (Chris had toffee ripple and strawberries and cream and I went for chocolate - well, you have to, don't you?  It is nearly July!)
 Coming back from a garden visit is always a little dispiriting, but this hydrangea was there to help to cheer me up!  I have always wanted a blue hydrangea and this one is doing a great job of being lilac-y blue.
Watching the flowers change from creamy white to creamy green to blue has been a joy.
P.S Welcome to my new followers - I really hope you'll enjoy reading my blog.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

More Open Gardens (part 2)

 This was my favourite garden.  It was romantic, full of plants with an abundance of roses and clematis and was beautifully planted.  Everywhere I looked there was another stunning view.
 I could imagine myself sitting in here with a book...
 The rose covered pergola acted as a divider in the garden.
I really liked the mix of topiary, shrubs and herbaceous plants in the border planting.
 Another lovely view through into the garden.
 Looking down the rose covered pretty.
There was just one negative to the garden and one which wasn't obvious when you were actually in it.  When I was choosing my photos ready to crop them down a little, I noticed that in most of them, there were other houses in the background.  Although these were hidden, they were there all the same.  Even the most perfect garden has some problems (which makes me feel much better about my own untidy plot!)
Moving on to the penultimate garden on the walk, which also had some lovely planting with a wild flower feel to it.
 On the way back to the village hall, we both smiled to see the 'Open Garden' on this building site.  Someone with a sense of humour either works on the site or owns the site (there was a house being built).
It just shows you can have a garden (albeit a tiny one) anywhere!